Dec 12, 2016

Angelina County judge finds Church of Wells member guilty of disorderly conduct

By Caleb Beames
December 12, 2016

A Church of Wells member was found guilty of disorderly conduct by an Angelina County judge on Friday for an incident at the 2015 Lufkin Christmas Parade.

Taylor Clifton, 24, of Wells, was accused of disrupting the 2015 Lufkin Christmas Parade. On Friday, Judge Derrick Flournoy found Clifton not guilty of the municipal charge of interfering with an event but was found guilty of disorderly conduct.

Prosecutor Clyde Herrington said Clifton was fined $100 for the incident. Clinton was released from the Angelina County Jail on Dec. 1, 2015 after he posted a bail amount of $1,000.

According to a previous story, on Monday Nov. 30, 2015, Clifton was heard yelling, "He doesn't want you to burn" and "it is an abomination," during pauses in the parade.

According to Lufkin police, dispatch received several calls from parade-goers that Clifton and other members were yelling and following attendees, even walking in front of floats.

When officers arrived near East Shepherd Avenue and First Street, they confronted church members and explained they could continue sharing their message as long as they didn't disrupt the parade. All the members complied, except for Clifton, who proceeded to yell, upsetting parents of young children frightened by the display.

Two officers attempted to calm Clifton and the parents, but Clifton refused to comply and was taken into custody.

"We arrested him just as much for his own safety," said LPD Corporal Dale Dodd. "Several people were in his face, trying to fight him. One member of the church was assaulted, but he said he didn't want to file charges."

After the parade, at least two church members began yelling at people on First Street outside of Standpipe Coffee House, upsetting many.

Some parade-goers confronted the church members and asked them why they were ruining the parade.

“This was a hard case,” Herrington said. “We didn’t have a lot of the civilian witnesses. The police didn’t get there until a lot of stuff had already gone on. Hopefully we don’t have this happen at a parade again. I am a Christian but I am afraid these people are doing harm. They are offending people and making them mad.”

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